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IAF Helicopter Mi-17V5 carrying CDS Bipin Rawat, 13 others crashes in Tamil Nadu, IAF orders inquiry

An Indian Airforce helicopter Mi 17 V-5 carrying the Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat and thirteen others crashed in the forest area near Coonoor in the Nilgiris District of Tamil Nadu on Wednesday. Apart from the crew, CDS Bipin Rawat’s staff and family members were also on board in the chopper which crashed.

The passengers include Madhulika Rawat, President of Defence Wives Welfare Association, Brig.L.S.Lidder DA to CDS, Lt.Col. Harjinder Singh SO to CDS and five PSOs. The helicopter was on its way to the Sulur Airbase. Official confirmation is awaited on the identity of the eleven bodies which were retrieved from the site as they were beyond recognition.

The mishap reportedly happened due to low visibility due to foggy conditions. However, there was no immediate information on the condition of Gen Rawat. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has asked the Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari to reach the crash site.

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A meeting of senior Defence ministry officials was held. Defence minister Rajnath Singh briefed the Prime Minister about the crash. Mr Singh also visited the residence of the Chief of Defence Staff in New Delhi. An inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the incident.

Tamil Nadu Minister of Forests K. Ramachandran said that they were not able to give clear information on the incident as rescue and relief efforts were on. According to him, three persons onboard who were seriously injured have been taken to the hospital. Tamilnadu Chief Minister M.K.Stalin will reach Coimbatore today and travel to Connoor Wellington by road.

 

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